Fintan O’Toole: Believers in a united Ireland without trade-offs are as bad as Brexiteers

Irish Times poll shows widespread belief that Irish unity can be achieved without sacrifice

Hillsborough Castle: in recent years Northern Ireland has had some secretaries you wouldn’t trust to form a judgment on whether the sun appears likely to come up in the morning. Photograph: Frank Miller

Hillsborough Castle: in recent years Northern Ireland has had some secretaries you wouldn’t trust to form a judgment on whether the sun appears likely to come up in the morning. Photograph: Frank Miller

As I was growing up, I became aware that there were a lot of bad marriages around. And most of them were bad because the husbands never quite accepted that they were in fact married.

They had always been brought up to regard married life as a good thing – natural, even inevitable. A man ought to have a wife, kids, the house, the lot. They liked the cooked meals and the regular sex and some bits of fatherhood, like giving orders and going to football matches. They just didn’t go for the whole partnership thing.

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